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04 March 2022

The Sunday Times – Private client Law expert Robert Brodrick provides insight on male primogeniture in relation to the Bo Bruce case.

There has been a lot of comment surrounding Bo Bruce’s claim against her brother Viscount Savernake to gain ownership of her share of her mother’s £2 million estate, and in particular the inequality in titled families where daughters’ interests are often overlooked. The Sunday Times recently published an article covering the case, in which Payne Hicks Beach Private Client Law expert Robert Brodrick provided insight on male primogeniture and the difficulties females may face when dealing with assets of titled families.

Robert explains, “Male primogeniture — the system whereby the eldest male child inherits — is now something that only really applies to hereditary titles in the UK, with the exception of some Scottish titles that pass down the female line and, more importantly, the royal family. There have been several attempts to change this to enable daughters to inherit their father’s titles, but so far the law has not been updated”. He adds, “where stately homes, landed estates, farms and family businesses are concerned, many families use trusts. Typically, to avoid breaking up an estate or a family business like a farm, such assets are passed to one ‘heir’, and in a titled family this is usually the eldest son, the aim being to keep the title and the estate together.”

Robert’s comments featured in the Sunday Times on 27 February and are reproduced below with kind permission.

For further advice on Private Client law, email Robert or telephone on 0207 465 4300.

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Robert Brodrick
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